Abba’s Agnetha Comes Out Of Retirement

Abba’s Agnetha Comes Out Of Retirement

By Mark Savage

Arts and entertainment reporter, BBC News

Abba's Agnetha Comes Out Of Retirement

One of pop’s most enigmatic voices has emerged with her first album in nine years. Agnetha Faltskog’s new album sees her duet with Gary Barlow and collaborate with Britney Spears’ Swedish songwriting team. Just don’t call her “mysterious”.

Forty-five years ago, before Abba were even a twinkle in Eurovision’s eye, Agnetha Faltskog made her very first TV appearance.

Aged just 17, she performed Jag Var Sa Kar (I Was So In Love), a syrupy self-penned waltz, on Swedish TV show Studio 8.

The melancholy lyrics, inspired by her idol Connie Francis, were a stark contrast to the exuberant blonde singer, who “took the radio in my arms and danced around” when she first heard her single on the air.

Little did she know, misery would become her musical forte, especially when she teamed up with Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frida to form Abba.

The songs on which Faltskog took lead vocals – Hasta Manana, The Name Of The Game, Chiquitita – were the band’s biggest tear-jerkers.

On The Winner Takes It All, recorded as her marriage to Bjorn Ulvaeus fell apart, the emotion is almost too much to bear.

Faltskog is by turns defiant and broken. “I was in your arms, thinking I belonged there,” she cries, as her husband merely shakes her hand and turns away.

Oddly, the singer calls it “her biggest favourite” from the band’s back catalogue. “It’s a shame we never got to play it live,” she adds.

Since the band went their separate ways in 1982, the girl with golden hair has been the band’s most elusive member. She largely shuns the limelight, living quietly on the secluded island of Ekero, west of Stockholm.

Perhaps because of those world-weary lyrics, she was portrayed as a frail recluse – the Greta Garbo of pop.

The revelation in 2000 that she had entered a relationship with an obsessed Dutch fan, 16 years her junior, who turned dangerous when she broke off the affair, only added to the perception that she was lonely and unhappy.

Nervous return

Today, she cannot talk about the relationship for legal reasons, but Faltskog says the media have the wrong impression of her private life.

“I have been described as a very mysterious human being and that hurts a little bit, because it’s not like that at all,” she says.

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Fatten Up Retirement Savings in 3 Steps


Fatten Up Retirement Savings in 3 Steps


Fatten Up Retirement Savings in 3 Steps
Fatten Up Retirement Savings in 3 Steps

For some aging adults, the retirement piggy bank is looking too slim, especially for those unable to max out 401(k) plans or individual retirement accounts (IRA) every year.Remember when hard-working seniors were able to look forward to retirement as the chance to travel and savor relaxed family visits?

The National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) discovered that expectations for the so-called “good life” deflated back in 2011. NIRS research found only 11 percent of consumers assume retirement will include activities like travel, dining out at restaurants, hobbies and overall leisure-time. Most just hope they’ll be able to sustain their lifestyle without having to work or rely on others.

It’s not surprising that research indicates pensioners are better financially prepared for retired life. But the traditional pension has declined over the past 30 years, making it even tougher for middle-income adults to save enough for a stable nest egg.

Consider the following advice when saving for retirement to make the most of your golden years.

1. When it comes to investing, keep it simple.

Unless you’ve got a step up on the market flux, be smart and cautious. For soon-to-be retirees, CNN Money suggests avoiding individual stocks, niche funds and most ETFs (exchange-traded funds). Try to boost returns without assuming added risk by aiming for lower costs and low-expense funds. Straightforward, diversified portfolios will get you farther in the long run.

2. Utilize investment help.

If you’re managing your own portfolio and retirement accounts, investment guide tools can be incredibly useful. Services such as offer retirement education and investment help for any self-directed investor trying to maximize IRA or 401(k) growth. “My motto is ‘athletes do not rest, they build.’ But when it comes to preparing for retirement, sometimes you need help to know what to build,” explains Marshall Faulk, board member and former NFL star, who also created the Marshall Faulk Foundation to help San Diego youth. “Do you know which tax advantaged accounts provide the easiest way to score the most benefits?” Find answers at www.uselfdirect.comor call 800-242-1380.

3. Save more as income grows.

This seems obvious, but when adults receive a salary bump they should factor that into their allotted retirement savings. Resist the temptation to buy that new TV or king-sized bed — even though you deserve it — and put more toward the retirement plan or IRA. If you indulge in more luxurious living with every bit of income growth, it’ll be harder to maintain that lifestyle during retirement.


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